|Have You Seen God?|
Vivekananda meets Ramakrishna
I am God', 'Yes, all is God,'
peals back Heaven's deathless call.
~ Sri Aurobindo in Savitri (Book-6/Canto-2)
More than a century ago an adolescent boy of Calcutta, Narendra Nath Dutta
was obsessed with the idea of seeing God. He was firmly grounded in the works
of occidental philosophers, but none could fulfil his cherished aspiration.
His search took him to the ghats of Ganges where atop an anchored barge sat
the leader of Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, Maharshi Devendra Nath Tagore, a Guru
in spiritual matters, father of the poet Tagore.
But the 'Great Seer' was taken aback by Narendra's question - 'Sir, have you
seen God?' - and tried to assuage him by saying that his eyes resembled that
of a yogi, and that he should spiritually prosper by meditation.
and desperate the young man one day, along with his friends, went to meet
Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa,
a somewhat eccentric priest of the Kali
temple at Dakshineswar
in Calcutta. At the first opportunity Narendra put him the same question -
"Sir, have you seen God?" But this practically illiterate priest, unlike the
erudite Maharshi, replied in rural dialect without mincing words - "Yes, I
have seen God. I have seen Him more tangibly than I see you. I have talked
with him more intimately than I am talking to you. But my child, who wants
to see God! People shed jugs of tears for money, wife and children. But if
they weep for God for only one day they would surely see Him."
Narendra intuitively knew that here was a genuine man to whom God was a living
reality and not at all a philosophical concept or an intellectual pastime.
As we know it was under the ecclesiastical tutelage of Sri Ramakrishna (1836-86)
that Narendra Nath Dutta graduated into a full-blossomed spiritual soul, later
to be known as Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902).
According to Vivekananda, "My master was not learned but learning personified." This inhibition of highest spiritual knowledge comes not from cramming spiritual texts but from attaining direct realisation of Divinity through various paths prescribed by the spiritual masters of yore. The boldness of 'Sanatan Dharma' we call Hinduism is that it emphasises nothing short of direct perception of Truth as the goal of human life.
The sage in Upanishad proclaims unequivocally "I know this great Person who is resplendent like the sun, and beyond darkness. By knowing him alone one can transcend death, there exists no other path (alternative)". So it is by a first-hand perception of this effulgent truth - 'Satchit Ananda' (Existence-Consciousness-Delight) - whose amaranthine visage according to scriptures is covered with a lid of gold and one can cleave into the supreme secret of All-being which is also All-becoming. There lies the validity of religion in particular and life in general.
~ Contributed by Soma Brahma
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